I sometimes feel like I am doing something wrong; like I am behind in life. I live in a section of Fairfield County where the lives of my friends and neighbors feel completely intangible to me, and I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I look around me at the beautiful homes that surround my less-than-beautiful home and I wonder…HOW did these people build this much success in a short amount of time to afford the lifestyle that they are living? I’m not talking about established couples who are much older than we are; I’m talking about people who are in the same peer group as we are.
My husband and I are constantly treading water to keep our heads from being submerged. We are always moving; working our asses off 24×7, both at work and at home. We know that if we’re not moving, something is not getting done. And yet, it feels like regardless, there is still tons left to do. Early on, we could blame the fact that we were young…but then we outgrew that excuse. Then, we could blame the expense of having twins…but once you get beyond the toddler years, the expense of twins is really not that much different from having two kids. Now we’re just a middle-age, middle-career, 2-kid, 2 working parent family who lives in the neighborhood “eyesore” – our yard is overgrown, the windows need to be replaced, and the house needs a good paint job. And that’s just on the outside.
Then I begin to wonder if it’s just my twisted perspective – am I imagining these beautiful, pristine homes with luxurious cars that sit in these driveways, inhabited by families who go away for weeks-on-end either to their vacation homes or on exotic vacations? The answer is “sort of.” Yes, my house needs work but somehow my minds’ eye was blowing all of this out of proportion, making it seem that there was a huge division between the magazine-worthy homes on my street and the “dump” that I live in.
Suddenly, the warped rose-colored glasses that I use to look at those around me are shattered by the high-pitched squeals and giggles of my kids. Reality smacks me upside the head with a deep command of “get real and quit complaining…” and reminds me that comparing myself to others is dangerous because our objective and priority in life is not to “keep up” but to “keep going.” With clear eyes, I realize that I live in an awesome town with wonderful schools and the fact that we’re even here can be seen by most as an accomplishment. Add to it the fact that we got here without student loans (we both put ourselves through grad school), without any additional debt besides our mortgage, healthy retirement accounts, and healthy college savings for both of our kids, and to anyone outside looking in, we are doing OK.
So yeah, maybe our house looks a little worn, maybe the dog-hair-dust-balls are constantly floating in the air and the house could use a little freshening up. But when you lay it all out, we are FAR from being behind. My kids are happy, well-adjusted, and set up for a solid future. Life is pretty darned good because I am, in fact, living my dream.